While acknowledging the serious problems facing his company, Ford Motor Co. Chairman Bill Ford insisted that with the right people and the right products, the troubled automaker will prove surprisingly resilient.
During an opening-day preview, at the Detroit Auto Show, of its latest cars, trucks and concepts, Ford officials took pains to present a vision of where Ford hopes to go, drawing on the help of Microsoft CEO Bill Gates, whose company is launching a new technology partnership with the
Among the most widely-anticipated debuts was the Ford Interceptor, a hot rod-like four-door that global design czar J Mays dubbed “a modern American muscle sedan. The 400-horsepower Interceptor, he broadly hinted, “will probably influence production Fords down the road.” Company insiders say the angular look will very clearly reappear as the carmaker struggles to reverse its image of building bland products.
One of the most frequently-derided models, the Five Hundred sedan, debuted in updated trim, with Ford’s new CEO, Alan Mulally behind the wheel. The 2008 version of the Five Hundred will get another 60 horsepower, addressing one of the most frequent complaints about the sedan. It will also sport a new front end, liberally borrowed from the smaller and more stylish Fusion sedan.
There was nothing tame about the Airstream Concept, which as a longer preview on TheCarConnection.com reveals, was heavily influenced by the popular Airstream RVs, as well as the classic sci-fi film, 2001: A Space Odyssey. Designed by Ford’s advanced design studio, in suburban
Reading the market tea leaves, Ford is rushing to get into the fast-growing
Notably absent from the lengthy Detroit Auto Show news conference was any product bearing the Mercury badge. But North American design director Peter Horbury presented what is likely to become the new flagship for the struggling
While most of the event focused on new vehicles, Ford found time to beam in Bill Gates from
“The market potential is absolutely enormous,” declared Fields, adding that Ford will have an exclusive on the Sync technology through the end of 2008. It will debut later this year on a dozen Ford products, including the new Focus.